how can I help

It's Sunday morning, I'm writing these lines, ping! , it's Francesco, he writes that he had a problem with the bow, the mother screw broke... many call the screw mother screw, no mother screw has broken, it is the screw, the button screw ... from the shots it is really broken, can I bring it to you tomorrow morning? Or maybe tonight? Better afternoon, huh? Can I?

Francesco is there, when he came to me the first time he had the same liveliness, the same enthusiasm, as if he were always playing, as if he were constantly immersed in the flow of music and from there he looked at the world, liveliness, enthusiasm and being there that he has maintained, magnificent, over the years.

I start laughing, I tell him, come on, tomorrow morning, stay a little with me while we put it right, and in the meantime you’ll tell me ... he arrives on time the next morning, sits on the sofa, a habitué, but it does not last more than two minutes, he takes his instrument and asks me if I have a bow, while I arrange his one ... I'm finishing one, it was a while that it was there, and I'm finishing it thinking of him, Francesco, it could almost be his perfect bow, I haven't told him about it yet, but I silently laugh when I put my hands on it, it seems to me a nice joke to do to Francesco ... and so, nonchalante, I offer it to him... please,  I'm finishing it, be good, try it as you know how to try a bow, it's a favor that I ask you

And he attacks, irrepressible, while I pretend nothing and diligently start to fix the screw, it is broken ... why did it break? It has been working for almost ten years, and the backlash between screw and mother screw has not been checked regularly enough, Francesco is not too diligent about this, and he plays a lot, really just a lot ... yes, it was not defective, let's replace it, let's adjust the backlash with the mother screw ...

Meanwhile, Francis is trying to massacre his (it is his, even if he still does not know it) bow, and he pulls the impossible out of his cello ... he try with another monster, and I feel that he tames that too, not enough, another monster ... meanwhile I have finished with his old bow, cleaned, polished ...

Even Francesco is finished, he is all sweaty, he looks at me and bursts out laughing, brandishing the bow like a katana ...

Big dark eyes, almost black, she arrives, she hands me the bow, the face is a bit sad, there is embarrassment, while she tells me that she has decided to resume, after almost thirty years ... graduated violinist, appreciated, then life, husband, family, and then fatigue, need ... and the bow has green silver, bowhair yellowed like autumn leaves, smell of old clothes left locked in a trunk in the attic, the bow stick opaque, extinguished, almost dead ... the bowtip broken, the button blocked... she looks at me, sad, it was a magnificent bow, it sounded wonderful, I know she's afraid I tell her there's nothing to do, too late... that it is too late for everything, for her, for the music, to resume playing, maybe to live ...

I tell her to sit on the sofa next to my desk, do you like a coffee?, tell me a little ... while I get to work, I cut the old bowhair, I remove the frog from the bowstick, I disassemble the frog ... I pull out the ring, remove the wooden wedge, pull out the mother of pearl, after having repeatedly passed it with alcohol, remove the cap to the mortise, remove the knot of the remaining bowhair ... and then I continue to disassemble, clean and polish every single element, the ring, the drawstring, the mother screw, the screw, the eyes, the ebony, the mother of pearls ... Meanwhile Antonella continued to tell me about how things went, to observe me, her gaze resumed a bit of liveliness ... now I prepare the new cap for the mortise, I go and  choose the birch, I know how it must be and above all how it must not absolutely be...

Here, now it's up to the bow stick, I remove the cap to the mortise of the head, I remove the knot of bowhair, and remove every trace of rosin, remove the old thumb leather, meticulously clean and polish the silver winding, choose the new skin and prepare the exact piece that I place where and how I know that it must be put to ensure the best support and the best grip of the fingers ... Antonella's eyes do not miss a passage, from minute to minute, they become large, attentive, bright .... her bow, her magnificent bow comes back to life, step by step... now the new cap for the mortise of the head, cut, section, model and re-size, short and delicate gestures, the same perfect birch ... yes, that's fine.

I'm going to choose the new bowhair, here, for this bow it takes 8.3 grams, not more, not less, yes, this is the right bowhair for this bow, never come and talk  me about bleached bowhair, elongated, with crazy verses .... I do not care if 90% of the bowhair on the market today is like this, it sucks all the same, it does not last, it breaks, it stretches, it has no grip, it has no grip, it does not sound ... it can't sound, it shouldn't be used, never.

And don't even dare to think about synthetic bowhair, it's an abomination.  What? Is it difficult to find good bowhair? The untreated, natural one, with the verses in their place? What comes from healthy and well-kept animals? What is prepared by those who know how to do it, often for generations? Oh yes, it is, gosh, it is, it is damn hard, and it must be done.

Here, let's start from where it comes from, from the clearest part, the first knot, a very special knot, is one of the most difficult operations, my master never stopped to insist on it, tight, tight, yes, but not too much, the turns, how many turns, and how, yep ... yes, it came out well, now the stove ... Antonella is now silent, absorbed, does not move a muscle, I do not even feel her breathing, her gaze is magnetized by the new bowhair, I know that she sees it already stretched on the bow... and I stop.

I turn to her, I smile, she smiles... I must redo the bowtip, and it must be done before putting my hands to the bowhair, of course, but I wanted to help Antonella to see what she could not see if I had stopped at the bowitp ... more than an hour has passed, I tell her to go, and to come back tomorrow, yuor bow, tomorrow, will be alive again.

The next day she returns, she is restless, her bow, then... I'm happy, his bow is almost ready, still a few touches ... I am reminded of my Maestro, when I followed him in his laboratory, many and many years ago, she has her violin, I asked her to bring it to try her bow with me, and fine-tune it together ... a few more touches, I tell her, and I ask her, while I finish, please, try this bow ... it had been with me for a long time, I had built it feeling that it was someone's, someone I did not know, but who would come, one day, and I would have known who he or she was when I met them... yes, I know, they are fantasies, they have often accompanied me while I prepare a new bow, I am lucky, sooner or later the master, the mistress of the bow comes to me, and the bow wants to be put to the test, sure of itself.

Antonella agrees, some shadows pass quickly on her face, mobile, expressive ... she has a beautiful face, age has nothing to do with beauty, with gentle firmness she holds the bow that I give her, then poses it, slightly, on the piano, tunes her violin, and begins to try it ... I do not do it on purpose, it is not a technique, sometimes it happens, almost always not, but there, then, here, I had to invite her to the test, it was the right thing to do ...

I take Antonella's old bow, I give the rosin, and then I pass it in my apron, after giving the rosin a little dust always sticks to the bow stick, I can not give her her bow so dusty ... a few minutes, Antonella is rehearsing, it's Mozart, the concert number 3 in G Major, many prefer it ... well, thirty years may have passed, but it is impeccable, the gods bless her ... I'm turned away, she can't see my face, I can't see hers, but I feel life, vigor, strength, passion, firmness, courage, challenge, kindness...

So I turn around, and I look at her, and she's beautiful, and I know that's how she feels... he stops, looks at me, smiles, and I smile...

Many, many stories...

"hello Raffaella, we met at mondomusica a month ago ... I'm traveling, I have to take my instrument to Cremona, it's that I also have to fix the bows, and then tonight I have to leave, I have the flight to Tokyo at 2 am ... if I arrive at, let's say 5, can you fix them? Huh? What? How many are they?, mah, seven, eight, I took them up and I did not count them ... ah yes, then, one has the winding to redo, one the leather, one has the screw that does not turn well, one is a little crooked ... huh? no no, the bowhair must be changed for all of them..."

It's Sunday evening, almost dinner time, I'm chatting with a friend, the ping arrives, I look at what has arrived... disaster! He is in London, the bow has broken! What does it mean the bow is broken... all the bowhair came out of the bow stick…

I'm finishing smoothing the bowtip, last touches, Giovanni calls, terrified: "it was in his case, yesterday it was perfect, I just opened, almost all the hairs cut to the same height ... no one touched it, no one opened it, it's a disaster, and now?"

I would like to tell them all, maybe I will, not here, not now